by Annette LeBlanc Cate
Candlewick, 2013. 52 pgs. Nonfiction
What a scream. In more ways than one. Look Up! . . . is a spectacularly charming guide to bird-watching by an amateur birder, with hilarious bird remarks all along the way. The book begins before it even begins, inside the front cover with a list of what you need for efficient bird-watching (hold up on the binoculars; first, "practice seeing the whole bird . . . its shape, size, the way it moves . . . before you worry about all the little details). Next come Bird Watching Do's . . . and Don't's which include not walking through anyone's picnic while following a sandpiper, nor thinking an upside down shopping cart in the water is a cormorant. Following are tips for listening for distinctive birds songs, recognizing birds by shape, the Modern Sparrow Field Mark Fashion Show, and the Bird Color Rainbow. At the bottom of some pages are Wing Tips, suggestions for learning more, as well as Be a Birdbrain boxes describing ways that birds protect themselves and their young, how they make their nests and find their food. Cate's drawings are witty after the fashion of Roz Chast--they are like tiny New Yorker cartoons for kids. Children on up should find this book a pure delight, perhaps without noticing how much they are learning. Even the index is funny.